Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett Papers, 1927-1961


Frances Goodrich was born December 21, 1890 in Belleville, New Jersey. At Vassar College, she became interested in dramatics, and, upon graduating, she studied at the New York School of Social Service. Then, she became an actress; in 1924, she appeared in George Kelly's The Show-Off, which ran for 571 performances. It was also in 1924 that she met her future husband and collaborator, Albert Hackett, who was playing in Owen Davis' The Nervous Wreck. They met again in 1927 when they were members of a summer stock company in Denver, Colorado. Hackett offered to revamp a script, Such a Lady, which Goodrich had written. Their joint revamping did not produce the play they desired. They later wrote Western Union, which was tried out at Skowhegan, Maine, in the summer of 1930. In New York, their play, Up Pops the Devil, ran for 148 performances. In it, Hackett played the role of Biney.

Frances Goodrich married Albert Hackett in 1931.

Albert Hackett was born in New York City on February 16, 1900. His parents were professional actors, and he made his acting debut in Lottie, the Poor Saleslady, when he was six years old. He attended the Professional Children's School and acted for three years with the Lubin Stock Company in Philadelphia. He played on Broadway in Whoopee and Twelve Miles Out.

During their marriage, the Hacketts never did a picture or play alone, writing in the same room, at separate desks. Their working hours were from 9:30 to 5:00, with an hour off for lunch. They candidly criticized each other's writing.

One of their early collaborations, the play Bridal Wise had a run of 148 performances on Broadway in 1932.

They then moved to Hollywood and began writing for the screen. Included among their screen adaptations are The Thin Man series, The Firefly, Easter Parade, Naughty Marietta, Lady in the Dark, Father of the Bride, Ah, Wilderness!, The Long, Long Trailer; Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Gaby, and Five Finger Exercise.

In 1942. they adapted E. P. O'Donnell's novel The Great Big Doorstep for the stage.

Their greatest success was the play The Diary of Anne Frank, which was based on a book, Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl. The Hacketts spent two years researching and writing for this play. Productions of the play were world-wide and in many languages. Among the awards the Hacketts received for this play were the New York Drama Critics Circle Award, 1955-1956; the Outer Circle Award, 1955-1956; the 1956 Pulitzer Prize, and the 1956 American Theatre Wing's Antoinette Perry Award. They also adapted the play into a feature film.

The Hacketts were noted for their warmth, their integrity, and their generosity. Among their contributions were thousands of dollars given for scholarships at Brandeis University, Vassar College, at Anne Frank foundations, at the Hebrew University, and at other institutions.

In 1962, the couple retired from screenwriting. On January 29, 1984, Frances Goodrich died in New York City, New York. Albert Hackett died on March 16, 1995 in New York City, New York.